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Shaker Heights City Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

Term: 4 yearsSalary: $10,440Three incumbents are facing off against newcomer Sarah Megenhardt for three seats on City Council. The incumbents are Rob Zimmerman, running for his fourth term, and Tres Roeder and Anne Williams, both running for a second term.
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    Sarah Megenhardt Nonprofit Management Consultant

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    Tres Roeder Entrepreneur

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    Anne E. Williams Shaker Heights City Council Member

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    Rob Zimmerman Lawyer

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Biographical Information

What factors do you see as critical to achieving lasting economic growth for our city?

Shaker Heights has a high tax rate relative to neighboring communities with similar amenities. How can Shaker attract new residents?

How should our community approach the future of the Shaker Heights Library--how should we determine whether it remains independent or joins the county system?

Age 47
Education BA in Psychology
Current occupation Stay-at-home mom
Qualifications for office My experience in non-profit management has helped me to understand complex issues facing a diverse community, manage and allocate funds, and to skillfully find collaboration and compromise when needed.
Campaign Phone (216) 375-6834
Email address sarahmegenhardt@sarahmegenhardt.net
Most of us agree that in order to achieve lasting economic growth for our city we need to diversify our tax base by shifting some of the burden from residents on to business. Any good plan requires a thorough understanding of the past; how did we get here, the present; what are the details of our current situation, what are our obstacles and opportunities? From a historical perspective, a city whose reputation was founded on being known as a bedroom community, ultimately that meant that practices were developed that were not conducive to encouraging business. The city continues to require a rather strict ratio of food sales to alcohol sales when negotiating with potential new restaurants. Restaurants make much of their profits from alcohol. As a result of this policy, that likely has been around awhile, we lost at least two new businesses that initially wanted to open in Shaker, but ended up in Cleveland Heights, instead. There is another, often overlooked potential area of growth: home businesses. We do not have the space to build a large corporate office building, but we can encourage entrepreneurial residents who wish to run their businesses out of their homes. Shaker is filled with smart, enterprising individuals, let’s listen to their needs, offer them more support, and do our best to remove any unintentional barriers we may place in their way. Finally, the question of achieving lasting economic growth and the next question of attracting new residents are linked.
Some important deciding factors residents cite when choosing where to call home are: Sense of Place, Diversity, and Shared Values. We can attract new residents by focusing our efforts in three main areas:

Sense of place: To create a sense of place we build on the unique assets Shaker has in its housing stock and design of our city. It’s exciting to consider that the Van Aken District may provide a town square, a gathering place for residents to meet and connect.

Diversity: When I talk to young people they want urban living, and diversity. Where else in Greater Cleveland can you have the rich diversity of our city and have good, high quality schools? Many people choose Shaker over Solon or Beachwood precisely because of our socioeconomic, ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity.

Shared Values: Young people who are potential Shaker residents care about the environment. Establishing ourselves as a leader in green initiatives is an effective marketing tool to attract new residents. We can implement a thoughtful and robust sustainability plan for Shaker, doing our part to transition to a clean energy economy. We can become a ‘green city’ and market ourselves as such. We can position ourselves as a community that recognizes the impact it has on the health of our environment. Not only will we have a concrete positive impact, but will be deliberately creating our identity as a forward thinking community.

Our library system is currently efficiently run, progressive in its programming and responsive to the needs of our community. During a recent email exchange with a high ranking library official, I was told, “The library hasn’t been on the ballot for 10 years and hasn’t increased its millage in 20 years. Since the last levy, which renewed the existing 4 mills, actual dollars received for property taxes has declined 18% and state funding has declined 19%. Rather than ask for additional taxes, they cut the budget to live within their means, including reducing staff by 16%.” These numbers show that the library has not been a drain on our resources. Becoming part of the County Library system actually means initiating the process to dissolve Shaker Library. We are not transferring an asset, we are dissolving an asset. While a library will be in Shaker, it will be something that is outside of our control. Maintaining local control of the library means that Shaker residents are able to hold Shaker Library accountable. Decisions about its management would continue to be made by Shaker residents in Shaker Heights. Decisions about library tax levies would continue to be made by Shaker voters. Consolidating with the County does not mean that we would stop paying taxes on a library, it more accurately means that we would continue to pay taxes but with far less say in what our library looks like, where it is located and what types of programs and services it offers.
Age 49
Education BA Economics - University of Illinois MBA in Strategy, Marketing and Finance - Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University
Current occupation Founder and President of Roeder Consulting, a professional services firm with expertise in project and change management. Author of two Amazon best-selling books on leading people through change.
Qualifications for office Member of City Council – 2014 to present. Shaker Heights 21st Century Government Task Force – Founding and current Chair. Northeast Ohio City Council Association – Vice President. Shaker Heights Development Corporation – Board Member. Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force - 2013.
Campaign Phone (216) 503-8571
Email address tresroeder@gmail.com
Twitter @tresroeder
Shaker Heights requires a growth plan I’m calling “Shaker 2030.” This concept has come out of numerous conversations with Shaker residents, leaders, business owners, real estate agents, and others. Shaker's most recent overall strategic plan is now 17 years old. It's time to update our shared vision for Shaker Heights and to focus that vision on how to grow. Shaker residents want to grow the commercial tax base, improve collaboration, and increase property values. The first phase of The Van Aken District is a good start and I’m proud to be a part of it. A vibrant commercial corridor can be built in the Chagrin/Lee area too. As part of Shaker 2030 we will study why people move into Shaker, why they leave, and what to do about it. A growth plan will clarify our goals for the future. Financial growth is certainly part of the equation but there's more to Shaker than financial goals. How can we grow to be more sustainable? How can we make our neighborhoods even more beautiful and welcoming to all? Shaker 2030 will be a collaboratively-created growth plan focused on the next 10-15 years. It will define what Shaker wants to be by the year 2030. The output will be a clear vision for Shaker Heights that will inform more tactical decisions at the city and school.
Shaker 2030 (see above for details) is the cornerstone of our financial future. Before making major financial decisions we must update our 17-year-old strategic plan and develop a community-driven consensus on what the future should look like. Once Shaker 2030 is complete we will know which areas to invest in, and which areas might be good candidates for re-thinking. In the meantime, we must continue to identify opportunities to lower cost. When I first ran for City Council in 2013, I promised to find ways to maintain or improve city services at a lower cost. We have had a number of successes. One result is outsourcing our jail to Solon. We are saving money -- and hours devoted to public safety have increased by enabling officers to spend more time policing and less time on jail-related activities. With my ongoing commitment to financial sustainability, and the clarity of purpose that will come from Shaker 2030, I will be at the forefront of managing cost while investing in the areas that will please and retain current residents and attract new residents.
A library is a vital component of the Shaker Heights ecosystem. We benefit from the most highly-educated population in the county and one of the most highly educated in all of the United States. Modern libraries are hubs of knowledge with multi-media, meeting places, and various community-building programs and events. Shaker residents will be faced with the decision to invest additional money into their current library system, or to save money and join the renowned county library system. I understand there are various perspectives in the community and appreciate different ideas. The question above specifically asks "how should we determine whether it (the Shaker Heights Library) remains independent or joins the county ..." It may turn out that the best way to resolve this issue is to let you, the residents of Shaker Heights, vote on what you think is the best path forward. All of us in government work for you ... so it would be appropriate if the final decision on this matter was yours.
Age 60
Education B.A. Political Science, University of Colorado M.A.L.S. Library Science, Rosary College J.D. Loyola University
Current occupation Shaker Heights City Council Member Melamed Communications, VP
Qualifications for office During my first term as a City Council member I have served in the positions listed below. Working with other council members, city staff and residents on city committees is a key function of a council member. Through this teamwork, voices are heard, information is shared, issues are explored and solutions are developed to benefit the community. City Committees: Safety and Public Works Neighborhood Revitalization (Chair) Recreation and Health Communication and Marketing (former Chair) Tree Advisory Board Sustainable Shaker Task Force Deer Advisory Task Force (Chair) Regional Boards: Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce Shaker Lakes Nature Center
Campaign Phone (216) 496-7064
Email address friendsofannewilliams@gmail.com
haker Heights is transitioning from the purely residential bedroom community envisioned by the Van Sweringen brothers to a community with an expanding commercial base. This thoughtful transition, necessary for sustained economic growth, has been a focus of the city since the Strategic Investment Plan was drafted in 2000. The Van Aken District is creating momentum as additional dining, retail, cultural, educational, recreational and residential options come on line over the next year. And this is just the first phase. Planned later phases add condominiums and an office tower increasing our tax revenue over the long term. The success of the district is predicated on the city’s demonstrated ability to form public/private partnerships, design creative financial incentives, and write successful grants such as the awards that help fund the reconstruction of the Chagrin/Warrensville intersection. The momentum created by the district will help further development along the Chagrin/Lee Corridor. Leveraging the work of the Shaker Heights Development Corporation and the businesses located at the Dealership to increase commercial development will further diversify our business base. Finally, maintaining our high level of city services, repairing our aging infrastructure, supporting city educational, recreational and cultural resources and preserving our neighborhoods are additional factors necessary to help attract and retain businesses.
Vibrant neighborhoods are vitally important to attracting and retaining residents as people of all ages look for beautiful, diverse, walkable neighborhoods that are close to public transit. We are fortunate to have such neighborhoods. Our attention to fulfilling the goals identified in the 2015 Housing and Neighborhood Plan –preserve high quality housing and increase cohesiveness, desirability, attractiveness and stability in the neighborhoods – will only increase our success in attracting residents. One specific goal in the plan is the development of infill housing. We have over 80 vacant lots in the Moreland neighborhood and it has been difficult to attract developers/builders/individuals to build homes. But as an outgrowth of the international infill design competition the City held earlier this year, we now have developers who are interested in building affordable, market rate, owner occupied infill housing. And the process is just beginning. Diversifying the housing stock with first floor masters will appeal to downsizing seniors. Young adults will appreciate increased focus on walkable neighborhoods, public transit and biking. Finally, the continuation of high quality City safety and public works services, ongoing repair and maintenance of our aging infrastructure, support of our schools, library, recreational and cultural institutions will not only help attract but retain residents.
As a resident, I enthusiastically support the Shaker Public Library. I have concerns about joining the county system: will the main library remain an anchor in the Moreland area? Will we retain Bertram Woods? Will losing Clevnet make a significant impact on access to material? It is not my role as a city council member to make this decision but I have heard the concerns of our residents over the tax burden they shoulder. There is no question there would be a small reduction in taxes if we join the County system. But is it worth it? Will we gain additional hours, resources and services? We don’t have the facts to measure the impact if we give up our independence. I applaud the library board’s extensive review of 7 options in the facilities study. However, the lack of information from the county precludes a thorough analysis of the option to join the county system. Given that the Shaker library anticipates putting an operating levy on the ballot next year and there is an organized group of residents pushing to join the county system, it’s time to have all the facts in hand. If the Shaker and County Library Boards undertake a study to determine impact on our community, residents could make an informed decision. Such a study is not unprecedented; in 2010 the Baldwin-Wallace College Community Research Institute conducted a study of the idea of East Cleveland joining the County System after a request from both boards. In the end, East Cleveland remained independent
Age 51
Education B.A. Political Science, cum laude with university honors, The Ohio State University, 1988. J.D., The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, 1991. Chief Justice of the University Court
Current occupation Attorney and Partner with Benesch, Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP. Chairperson of Public Law Practice Group and Vice Chairperson of Litigation Practice Group
Qualifications for office Member of Shaker Heights City Council since 2006. Vice Mayor (2014-2016). Council's representative on the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals since 2012. Member of Finance Committee since 2008 and served as Chairperson 2010-2012. Past Chairperson and member of Safety and Public Works Committee.
Campaign Phone (216) 346-7038
Email address rzimmerman@beneschlaw.com
A combination of a strong vision and decisive action by our Shaker government, in partnership with our great residents and others who want to live, work and enjoy themselves here. Shaker envisioned itself as an idealized garden community. But it was not intended for everyone. Over time we have embraced change and opened our hearts and doors, making us a diverse community open to all. Shaker's original vision also did not include business--we were a bedroom community for people to live, not to work. During my time on City Council, this too has changed. We have aggressively sought to diversify our tax base and make ourselves "open for business". The centerpiece is the opening of a "Downtown Shaker" at the Van Aken District next summer. Phase I includes retail, dining, office and residences. I have been intimately involved in this project as Council's representative on the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals and we are already working on plans for next phases of the project. We are also making significant investments along the Lee Road corridor adjacent to Cleveland. This is critical to growth and also to stabilizing our neighborhoods in South Shaker. The projects involve public-private partnerships with all stakeholders making contributions to the benefit of all. Shaker government will continue to maximize efficiency and promote conditions conducive to growth. We have come a long way in our 100+ years and the best is yet to come!
It's a value proposition, plain and simple. If people believe they receive value for their tax dollars, they will move to Shaker and stay here. If they don't they won't. This reality informs everything we do in city government and it's not just about attracting residents, but also retaining them. The majority of Shaker's city budget is funded through local income taxes. Our income tax rate is higher than some but lower than others. Yes our property taxes are high and our schools depend on them as does the city, to a lesser extent. It's because of the overall tax rate that the city must do what it does best--provide quality core services. We demand and deserve it. Our public safety and public works staff are dedicated and committed to our residents. We must also maintain and improve upon our most unique community assets--our beautiful green spaces and housing stock. Lots of people live here and pay more for doing so because of the simple beauty that is Shaker Heights. That's an amenity special to us and we must keep it that way and do even more. The opening of the Van Aken District is itself a draw to new residents and a benefit to our current ones. Soon you can try your skills at a rock gym, enjoy a craft beer and a good meal, connect with old friends and do some shopping all in a brand new place. And, if you like, you can live there too! We must also find new ways to engage and connect with our residents. Our people are our best assets.
By a thoughtful community dialogue that includes our leadership and residents. Shaker is one of the most educated communities in the nation. It's a point of tremendous civic pride. The Shaker Library, in service to our highly educated population, has been a very valuable community asset through the years. Fiscal challenges along with aging and obsolete buildings have brought this question to the forefront. While the City owns the main library building and leases it to the Shaker Library, the City does not make decisions for the Library (or the schools for that matter) about how their buildings and other assets and resources should be used. The Shaker Library has its own form of government and public accountability. Nevertheless, we all share a common responsibility--maximizing the benefit that all of Shaker receives from its civic investments. So this type of decision deserves a thoughtful and open dialogue that includes community leadership, like City Council. I will do my part as I have been--by listening and learning. I have been and will continue to engage with the Library leadership and other stakeholders. No matter what, I am confident that Shaker will address and ultimately decide this issue like it does others--in a thoughtful and respectful way that takes into account the views of all for the benefit of all.

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